Anything super useful to know when beginning?

If you see my New People Questions thread, I’ve linked to a good IME (how to type in Japanese) tutorial there. Also there is both a resource thread here in this section, and another thread with good things called “What do I do now?” in the Campfire section.

You can try searching around the forums too​, we’ve left all kinds of tips everywhere.

I’m pretty tired after a really long day at work (and posting from my phone) otherwise I might re-link you some stuff. But all of the topics I mentioned are pinned to the top of the respective forum sections.

Your question was pretty expansive (and therefore vague), so other than that I can say: learn your katakana soon (it’ll start showing up in WK in a few levels), start grammar ASAP if you’re serious about the language, and rfindley’s Timeline userscript (for WK specifically) is suuuper helpful.


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Learn grammar early on. Should you not doing well, booster dose grammar at higher levels.

Google for ‘Japanese IME’, and learn how to use it.

I think Katakana is best learnt via a lot of vocabularies ‘chucks of katakanas’.

For changing the keyboard to Japanese on a Mac computer, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources > + ! For toggling between hiragana/katakana you just have to select either one in the top bar with all of the icons (where your time, power, volume is etc) and change there. For actual typing, you type romaji and the computer converts it to whichever kana. It’s easy for quick communication but not great for learning as you don’t need to study the characters at all!

Are there any good sites to learn grammar?

You can use caps lock or hold shift to toggle between hiragana and katakana.


But, best way to learn grammar is either through exercises or usage. Please get a textbook with exercises.

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Thank you very very much


I am already at levl 2 on WK; however, I am not sure when should I start learning grammer. On your opinion, when do I have to start learning grammer, according to WK levels?

Thank you!

Learn grammar now. Kanji and vocabulary are simple. You remember words. Grammar has very many rules. It is probably the most difficult thing to learn, so don’t put it off, because it is one of the most important things to learn.


Thank you. I shall start next week:)

Three approaches/timing to grammar

  1. Learn grammar along with basic vocab. Don’t care too much about Kanji. Care only about pronunciation… – lv 0 --> if failed
  2. Learn Kanji first, to ease in remembering vocab… according to WaniKani’s official guide – lv 5. --> if failed
  3. Remembering a lot of vocab first, before learning grammar, so you don’t have to learn 2 things at once… imho, around lv 20-30.

But, seriously, you should know some vocab first before even bother learning Kanji.

One last Q.

What is the difference between a kanji and vocab?
Thank you very much :smiley:

Kanji are representations of concepts, with a variety of associated pronunciations. Vocab are made up of one or more kanji. They are what you actually use and typically have only one pronunciation.

You can think of Japanese writing as a language of shorthands. Kanji exist to jumble hiragana chucks together to make it shorter. That is, make vocab writing shorter.

Vocab to me is a piece of syllables that have meaning. Mainly pronunciation only, although kanji representation can alter its meaning a bit.

There are also a fair number of vocab words that do not use kanji at all. Although some have kanji associated with them, they are more often seen spelled in kana alone. Wanikani will teach you some of these, but not many.

Thank you everyone. I guess I understand now what the different between kanji and vocab

One thing I didn’t know for a bit was that there is a smartphone app? That made doing reviews on time way easier for me.

Also kaniwani (another site that quizzes you on the vocab by giving you the English words and asking for the hiragana) is great! Really helps gel the vocab.

Lastly, and I’m sure Koichi and co have lots of feelings about this, I don’t think starting the Japanese language here, with kanji, is the “best” course of action? I think most people agree it’s best to start with learning words and grammar, and studying kanji is a late beginner/early intermediate exercise. But to each their own!

Thanks, @polv!

Also, this was the other thread I had mentioned:

(EDIT: Don’t know why the box doesn’t work on my phone, but it doesn’t. I think the link wraps and becomes “too big” to be on one line by itself…)


If you want an approachable, fast way to get started on grammar that isn’t a textbook, I really like Nihongonomori’s channel on YouTube.
They are linked in the What Do I Do Now thread if not also the Resource thread. You can find their N5-N4 (easiest) playlist… They even teach from a few languages other than English if English isn’t your native language.

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You can also have a look at the wiki post in the Pleasant forum

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